Helping you get through tough times

What is mental health?

We often get asked the question ‘what is mental health?’ There can be many different understandings of mental health and it can mean different things to different people.

cogs and wheels. photo: Nikki PaulieWhat it means to us

Mental health is something we all have and it’s an essential part of each of us. As the World Health Organisation says “There is no health without mental health”.

When we talk about mental health, we’re talking about how we feel, how we relate to other people and how we do day-to-day things.

We’re not just talking about the absence of a mental health problem. To us, having good mental health is about feeling good about ourselves and being able to get on effectively in daily life.

Changing levels of mental health

A person’s mental health can be positive and good, or it can be poor and people can feel down and unwell. Either way, it’s important to know the quality of a person’s mental health isn’t fixed.

It can get better or worse at different times as we journey through life. Even day-to-day experiences can affect our mental health for better or for worse.

Tough times

We can all experience tough times when we feel stressed, upset, worried or afraid.

We consider it a ‘mental health problem’ when our feelings, thoughts or beliefs negatively affect our day-to-day lives and activities and we cannot seem to, or don’t know how to, move past those feelings, thoughts or beliefs. It’s at times like this that we can use a hand or extra support.

Mental health problems tend to begin when we’re young . This is when support and resources are needed and one of the many reasons ReachOut.com focuses on youth mental health.

Minding our mental health

Our level of mental health can change as we go through life, and even on a daily basis. There are things we can do to look after our mental health. Making sure we get enough sleep and enough exercise, making sure we eat healthily and to take time out to relax and do the things we enjoy.

One of the most important things we can do is to talk to someone. This can be a trusted friend or family member if there’s something bothering us.

Talking about how we feel and sharing our thoughts and worries can help us to feel better and can help us to come up with ways of coping with our feelings and emotions.

What does mental health mean to you?

As we said, mental health can mean different things to different people. Let us know what it means to you.

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